Man offered €2,000 to woman at Tullamore District Court
A WOMAN awoke at 5am to find a man in her bedroom touching her feet, Tullamore District Court heard.
Brian Leonard (33), 3 Sliabh Rua, Moate, Co Westmeath pleaded guilty to trespassing at Derryneavy, Pullough on July 25 last year, an address which Judge Patricia Cronin heard was the home of Kathleen Tierney.
Sergeant James O'Sullivan told the court that Ms Tierney woke up in her bed to find that Mr Leonard had entered her home as a trespasser and when she asked him to leave he said he thought there was some sort of a party there and he left after some time.
Sergeant O'Sullivan said the accused was intoxicated at the time and the incident caused Ms Tierney great upset.
He added that as far as he was aware Mr Leonard had done some work at the woman's house previously, installing something, and that was the only reason they'd have known each other. He had no previous convictions.
Mr Leonard's solicitor, Donal Farrelly, described the incident as an unfortunate one and said it occurred against the background of his client's extreme alcohol abuse which had been triggered by his wife's difficult pregnancy.
Mr Leonard, a married father of two, had thought there might be a party at the unfortunate lady's house and that was why he wrongly turned up there in his drunken state.
He had suffered tragically himself since and was trying to deal with his alcohol abuse and a marriage that was extremely ruptured.
He had attended for counselling and was in good employment and a letter from an employer said he had been honest and hardworking for 10 years.
He was extremely upset by what occurred and realised the lady was traumatised and he had brought €2,000 to the court as a token of his regret.
A letter from the Hope House addiction centre was handed in by Mr Farrelly who added that the offence was totally out of character for a man who had no previous convictions.
Judge Cronin said the victim impact statement prepared by Ms Tierney was “quite harrowing” and she said the case before her was a very serious one, including as it did an allegation of entering into someone's home in the middle of the night, entering their bedroom and touching the woman's feet.
“I have no doubt that is a very frightening experience for any individual,” said Judge Cronin, especially for someone who was on their own at the time.
She noted the prosecution was under Section 13 of the Public Order Act which was a trespass offence and various other offences had not been brought.
She said she was sure the accused would accept that it would be frightening if a family member of his had suffered as the lady had done and she rated this offence at the upper end of Section 13.
The judge said she took the plea of guilty into account and described bringing €2,000 to court as a gesture but it would not compensate the lady.
Sandra Mahon, Offaly state solicitor, confirmed the injured party would accept the amount offered.
Judge Cronin imposed a five-month sentence on Mr Leonard and suspended it for two years on a €500 bond.
She said a very dim view would be taken if the man came before the court again within two years and she accepted he was doing his best to deal with his alcohol issue and he needed to continue doing so.
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